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Turkey will be seen as ‘invaders’ if they stay to run Kabul airport: Taliban

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(Last Updated On: July 13, 2021)

In response to Turkey’s decision to help secure and run the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul after US and NATO troops leave the country, the Taliban said they consider the stay of any foreign forces, under any pretext, as occupation and that they will be considered “invaders”.

In a statement issued Tuesday morning, the Taliban said all foreign troops are to withdraw from Afghanistan in accordance with the Doha agreement, which was signed in February last year between the US and the Taliban.

“The decision of Turkish leadership is ill-advised, a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity and against our national interests,” the Taliban stated adding that the group is opposed to Turkey’s decision.

The groups stated “we strongly urge Turkish officials to reverse their decision due to it being detrimental for both countries”.

“We consider stay of foreign forces in our homeland by any country under whatever pretext as occupation, and invaders will be dealt with on the basis of the fatwa of fifteen hundred distinguished scholars issued in the year 1422 Hijri Lunar (2001) – a fatwa under which the past twenty-year Jihad has been waged,” the statement read.

The Taliban also stated that unless Turkey overturns its decision, the group will “take a stand against them as they have stood against the two-decade occupation, in which case the responsibility for all consequences shall fall on shoulders of those who interfere in the affairs of others and make such ill-advised decisions.”

Discussions between the United States and Turkey on security cooperation in Afghanistan have been ongoing for the past few weeks but Turkey has offered to operate and guard the Kabul airport after the withdrawal of US forces.

On Monday, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price declined to provide details on how arrangements for the airport would work but said: “We certainly welcome Turkey’s constructive role when it comes to the withdrawal and the broader safety and security situation in Afghanistan.”

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China’s birthrate falls to lowest level in 61 years

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.

Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people, the national bureau of statistics said on Monday.

In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population, the Guardian reported.

The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960, and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual rise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.

China, like much of east Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population. Monday’s figures showed the proportion of over-60s in China rose from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age. A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.

The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

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CSTO to take anti-drug trafficking measures at Afghanistan border

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a three-phase anti-drug trafficking operation at the border with Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Russia-24 news outlet.

He said the CSTO has a range of activities planned for 2022, including military security and the fight against terrorism, Russia-24 reported.

“These are measures of fighting against the illegal circulation of narcotics. This subject is especially important on the backdrop of the recent events in Afghanistan. Here we plan three stages of anti-drug trafficking measures,” Zas said.

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Pakistan’s NSA to visit Kabul this week

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf will lead a high-level inter-ministerial delegation to Kabul on Tuesday for a two-day trip for talks on bilateral matters and a focus on Islamabad’s efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis in the country.

“Yusuf is steering the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) to channel Pakistan’s humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan in a manner that helps the Afghan interim authorities in combatting their key challenges while adhering to the requirements of the UN and international sanctions,” Pakistan’s Dawn news reported.

Officials said the purpose of the visit is to ascertain Afghanistan’s “humanitarian, economic and development needs”.

Dawn news reported the “main sectors of Pakistan’s cooperation with Afghanistan include health, higher education, provision of humanitarian assistance, and enhancement of trade/business contacts”.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government is yet to confirm the visit.

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